Our paths crossed (for almost 24 months) when we worked together some years ago. He had heard horrible things about me from one of his close friends who worked with us for a brief while. She had painted me as a ‘ruthless bitch’.
It was a tough beginning for him too. But somehow he loved me for being a hard task master. He was eager to learn. I was eager to teach. In due course of time, his reservations melted away like ice cubes leaving no traces of its existence. We clicked. He had and luckily still has a wacko sense of humour. Humour works for me. But not Comedy nights with Kapil.
He left the job to move to another continent. He wrote a highly emotional three page long letter as a goodbye note. He wrote in that note that I have changed his life as a senior at work, as a human being. He wrote also a line, “It was gratifying to meet somebody who has experienced more of life than me. And till now I thought I have seen it all.” I read the note and thought to myself, “What does this 24 year old know about life? What has he seen in life?” I was arrogant about my share of experiencing life, loss, love. I was arrogant about my grey hair.
We have stayed in touch over the years. He still writes long emails to me and calls me at regular interval irrespective of the time zone. Last year, he was in India and we met for a nice meal of naan, paneer makhni and chooza chicken noorani. He has been telling me that he wanted to talk to me about something personal. I thought maybe it’s about a girl he’s dating or his career dilemma.
During the course of our dinner, he told me, “I am gay.” And he told me, “I want to live a life of truth and love.” And he chose to tell me because he knew that I wouldn’t judge him and would love him the same way as before. He talked about his whole painful struggle of coming into terms with his sexual choices and the whole turbulent path that lies before him as he comes from a very very traditional family. He talked about being ridiculed throughout his life, of going through deep pain in his personal space. I felt ashamed of thinking about “What does this 24 year old know about life? What has he seen in life?” I felt ashamed about my own arrogance, lack of compassion.
Our relationship is one of the most beautiful parts of our lives. He has given me lots of gifts. He has gifted me beautiful silver jewellery, lovely handcrafted notebooks, lots of songs carefully chosen for me and beautiful handicrafts. I haven’t given him anything material. Nothing at all. I wanted to buy a shirt/kurta for him when we met couple of months ago.. I told him, “I haven’t given you anything.” He looked at me and said, “Mam, you showed me how to love. The art of living life as a lover.” I had no words express.
I have been thinking of him for the last couple of days. On Tuesday, February 2, the Supreme Court will hear a curative petition on LGBT rights. It’s rare that it would be an open hearing on section 377. On Saturday night, I watched a television debate on LGBT rights and I almost cried seeing the aggression, hatred for homosexuals (by some panelists). I just wanted to hug my rainbow man and tell him, “It’s fine to be a gay. The world needs love. Just more love.”
Today morning he called me up and we spoke for almost two hours. Yes, telepathy works. Longing for someone intensely works. We talked about hatred, aggression ruling our public and personal space. We talked about Syria, Palestine, LGBT rights, dalits, women and hungry kids. It was wonderful to be on the same page. Sharing our anguish, our desire to love freely and openly. We talked of life ahead. He told me, “Mam, I will be your budhapa ki lathi. I just want to give more of myself to people I love. I will cook for you.”
He’s the rainbow of my life.